Majority of Norwegians Don’t Believe in God

A stunning stave church in Lom, Norway

Atheism is a growing trend in Norway according to a new survey, which reveals that for the first time ever, a majority of Norwegians don't believe in god.

According to reports in The Local, the annual survey from Norsk Monitor revealed just 37 per cent answered yes compared to 39 per cent that answered no, when asked the simple question: “Do you believe in god?”

23 per cent said they didn't know. The percentage was higher in rural areas of Norway, whereas in the capital Oslo, only 29 per cent answered yes.

Giske Church near Ålesund in Norway
Giske Church near Ålesund in Norway

The postal survey sent to thousands of Norwegians shows a clear trend of atheism spreading across the country. Two years ago the numbers were broadly even, whereas back in 1985 half of all respondents said they believed in the existence of a god.

A trend away from faith

This caps a controversial few years for the Church of Norway who have been subject to a membership scandal, whereby thousands of people claim they were enrolled in the Church without their consent. The Church of Norway justifies its enormous state subsidy partly by its large number of members.

Some expats have moved to Norway and years later, found that they were automatically enrolled in a religious organisation when they obtained their residence permit.

The modern looking architecture of Tromsø's Arctic Cathedral actually dates back to the 1960s.
Arctic Cathedral, Tromsø

A recent poll by Aftenposten added further fuel to this fire, showing that less than half of the 3.8 million members of the Church of Norway consider themselves Christians. In fact, a whopping 33 per cent of Church of Norway members said they were atheists.

Den Norske Kirke (the Church of Norway) has belonged to the Evangelical Lutheran branch of the Christian church since the 16th century, and has been a state church since then until 2012.


Photo: Nick

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About the Author: David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a freelance writer for technology companies in Scandinavia.

3 Comments

  1. I’m surprised the figure is that high. Norway comes across as a highly secular Country where the God is (in Biblical terms) “Mammon”. There was a period up to and including the 50’s when God and Christianity was a lot more prevalent than it is now.

    King Haakon VII said:
    “The only thing which can save the world from difficulties and all evil is to turn back to early Christianity and the old Christian values.” But I guess he didn’t see the replacement god coming with the oil boom.

    Incidentally, when Catholicism was enforced by King Olav, the strongest opposition to it was right there on your doorstep in Ranheim.

    Evangelist Emanuel Minos recorded a prophecy given by a 90 year old lady from Moss in 1968 regarding the future, I read it recently and it is startling to see the accuracy of it.

    Thank you for the article.

  2. It is good that at least the thoughts of protestantism still influences the Norwegian society and I think many people are not aware. The real atheism which destroys the society from scratch as it is showing in some parts of the Central Europe would be a disaster for this country. The idea of supported church by a secular state is not biblical so that we can not automatically expect it will positively impact people’s lives. Maybe that system was made with good intentions but the real faith and formal membership in a church are (thank God) very different things.

  3. god is a fictional money making character. Mickey Mouse is real.God was invented long time ago to put fear in people to cut down on murder, robbery and sex out of their marriage,putting the fear of god fictional character to makesome scared that when they die would go to fictional hell. nobody ever came back from heaven or hell, but to put fear in some made them think they were better people, now the con, putting up to 10% of their income gave them first class seat in heaven. printing all this crap some believed in an in the USA, some say I’m a devout christian are looked up to. The catholic religion is a hideout for gays, child molesters hiding behind some man made god, there finished, now they can’t hide no more. even the pope with his gay wardrobe, proves his fag lifestyle.Only athiest are real, but these god loving clowns,like putting them down believe in your self, and try and live a good life, you don’t need a fictional character to help you, you need yourself and live right.

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